Souper Soy

Cold temperatures—whether simply mild or absurdly so—call for soup. And with Minnesota winters as long as they are, it makes sense to have multiple soup recipes at the ready. Chicken noodle, vegetable rice, beef barley, and cream of tomato are only a few of an infinite array of perhaps the perfect winter warmer.

Besides being comforting and deliciously savory, soup can often be a highly nutritious meal even when served solo. Offering small amounts of protein and chock-full of vegetables, soups are usually made complete by including a grain such as rice, barley, or pasta.

By using soy in your soup—whether in the form of soymilk, tofu, edamame, or even textured soy protein—you add lean heart-healthy protein; B-vitamins; minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus; fiber; and disease-fighting antioxidants.

You can tweak a favorite recipe to include soy: Replace some of the ground beef in a chili with textured soy protein, for instance. Or puree tofu, low-fat milk, and a favorite vegetable into a “cream” soup. Using plain soymilk instead of cream or half-and-half in any soup cuts down on fat and calories, making a healthy soup even healthier.

You can also search out soy-based soup recipes online or in cookbooks. Once you’re familiar with the ingredients and processes, you’ll be able to improvise your own recipes for soups made with soy.

The following recipe for a pureed edamame soup puts green sweet beans center stage. Instead of growing to full maturity, these beans are harvested earlier in the season. They’re younger and sweeter than the traditional brown soybeans as well as being lower in fat. But their protein levels are nearly equivalent to mature soybeans with 22 grams per cup.* They are also incredibly rich in fiber with eight grams of this essential nutrient per cup.

But all of the nutrition in the world won’t make a soup enjoyable unless it tastes good. And this one does. The sweet beany flavor is rendered smooth and creamy (without a drop of actual cream) with the help of a quick puree and silky smooth soymilk. If you enjoy this soup—and you will—go ahead and experiment with other favorite soup recipes. Winter will be long enough to try many a bowl.

*Compared to 29 grams protein per cup found in the traditional brown soybean.


Silken Edamame Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart chicken broth

2 cups frozen shelled edamame

1 cup soymilk

Salt and pepper, to taste

Hot pepper sauce

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until onion is tender. Add broth and edamame; cover. Bring to a simmer; cook 5 minutes longer or until edamame is tender. Stir in soymilk. Transfer mixture to blender or use immersion blender directly in saucepan. Puree until soup is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish individual servings with hot sauce. Makes about 9 cups.